The immune modifying effects of chemotherapy and advances in chemo-immunotherapy

Daniel R. Principe*, Suneel D. Kamath, Murray Korc, Hidayatullah G. Munshi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have transformed the treatment paradigm for several malignancies. While the use of single-agent or combined ICIs has achieved acceptable disease control rates in a variety of solid tumors, such approaches have yet to show substantial therapeutic efficacy in select difficult-to-treat cancer types. Recently, select chemotherapy regimens are emerging as extensive modifiers of the tumor microenvironment, leading to the reprogramming of local immune responses. Accordingly, data is now emerging to suggest that certain anti-neoplastic agents modulate various immune cell processes, most notably the cross-presentation of tumor antigens, leukocyte trafficking, and cytokine biosynthesis. As such, the combination of ICIs and cytotoxic chemotherapy are beginning to show promise in many cancers that have long been considered poorly responsive to ICI-based immunotherapy. Here, we discuss past and present attempts to advance chemo-immunotherapy in these difficult-to-treat cancer histologies, mechanisms through which select chemotherapies modify tumor immunogenicity, as well as important considerations when designing such approaches to maximize efficacy and improve therapeutic response rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108111
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Immunology
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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